European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy V, 2, 2013
Call for papers
Pragmatism and the Social Dimensions of Doubt: Fresh Perspectives
Guest editor: Mathias Girel (Ecole normale supérieure, Paris)
Debunking pathological doubts and sundry variants of skepticism has certainly been one of the most prominent features of Pragmatism since its inception in the early 1870s. Peirce’s theory of inquiry, James’s Will to Believe, and Dewey’s Quest for Certainty, to mention only a few instances, to which Wittgenstein, as a non-standard pragmatist might be added, have offered several very different strategies to address this question. Extant scholarship has already devoted substantive accounts of this feature of pragmatism. Still, in addition to providing a rebuttal of the “paper-doubts” of the would-be skeptic, pragmatists have also been quite responsive to the social dimensions of doubt. As regards the causes: Peirce, when he claims that we cannot doubt at will, mentions repeatedly that one of the strongest factors of doubt is the doubt of other competent inquirers. As regards the consequences: doubt has consequences on epistemic trust, on the way we discuss truths, either about the sciences or about the “construction of good”. Readers of Dewey’s Quest for Certainty and of some of his most important political writings can easily see how practical uncertainty can degenerate into a practical and political skepticism, preventing the emergence of publics.
This social aspect of the question has received less attention than the general pragmatist strategy towards skepticism, for which we already have important papers and monographs. Fundamental contributions — whether conceptual or historical — on the social dimensions of doubt in a pragmatist perspective would greatly benefit extant scholarship.
Several contexts have made this inquiry more urgent still. Firstly, doubt about the sciences — about scientific certainty, scientific consensus and scientific normativity — has been increasingly enrolled within several strategies and used to promote public controversies: can pragmatism offer, for example, an account of reasonable doubt in the sciences that would dismiss pathological doubts about the sciences, in the same way as the classical pragmatists have dismissed cartesian unreasonable doubts? Secondly, the emergence of a new kind of pragmatism, inspired by Sellars and focusing on the social articulation of the space of reasons, had prompted new developments and sometimes a reconstruction of the main notions of classical epistemology : what are the main insights of linguistic pragmatism about this central notion? Thirdly, the social sciences have made extensive use of pragmatist resources in the past decades and it is time to see if they can in return cast some light on one of the core notions of pragmatism.
This issue of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy wants to investigate the perspectives that pragmatisms, old and new, open up on the social articulation of doubt. We will welcome any contribution on this topic that will (i) clarify classic or neo pragmatists accounts of doubt in its social setting, or (ii) use pragmatist insights in other disciplines — sociology, anthropology, political science, HPS — to explore the social dimensions of doubt, or (iii) compare pragmatist views with authors and perspectives belonging to other philosophical streams, or (iv) propose new theories inspired by pragmatism. Contributions offering new insights on the theory of inquiry, or providing a new reading of classical pragmatism, will be considered of central interest.
Papers should be sent to email@example.com before June, 30, 2013. Papers should not exceed 12.000 words and must include an abstract of 200-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. Acceptance of papers will be determined before August, 10, 2013. Papers will be published in December 2013.
Download the Call for paper EJPAP_2,2013
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 1/2013
Symposia: “Pragmatism and creativity”
Edited by Giovanni Maddalena (University of Molise, Italy) and Fernando Zalamea (National University, Colombia)
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 2012, vol. IV, issue 2
Symposia: “Wittgenstein and Pragmatism: a Reassessment”
Guest editors: Christiane Chauviré (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne), Sabine Plaud (University of Strasbourg)
The connections between Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the pragmatist tradition are often alluded to, but seldom thoroughly explored. It is an established fact that Wittgenstein was scarcely acquainted with such authors as Charles Sanders Peirce or John Dewey, even though he had a rather extended knowledge of the philosophy of William James. Nevertheless, the converging features between Wittgenstein and pragmatism are quite striking: we shall hardly need to mention Wittgenstein’s claim that meaning is use, his insistence on the pictorial dimension of mathematical proof, or again his emphasis on action in his characterization of will and intention. On the other hand, modern and contemporary pragmatist philosophers (R. B. Brandom, H. Putnam…) have often developed a complex and intricate relationship to Wittgenstein’s philosophy, since they sometimes use it as a support to their own arguments, but sometimes also point at its insufficiencies, and try to amend them. Hence the following questions: in what sense may Wittgenstein’s philosophy be described as “pragmatist”? Symmetrically, in what sense may contemporary pragmatist philosophy be described as “Wittgensteinian”? What are the incompatibilities, if any, between these two traditions? Lastly, what part has been played by such “middlemen” as C. K. Ogden or F. P. Ramsey in the interactions between Wittgenstein and pragmatism? Answering these questions should provide an opportunity to explore the dialogues and/or misunderstandings between a European or continental tradition in philosophy, and a more specifically American analysis of the notions of meaning, reasoning, action, etc. This special issue of EJPAP will welcome historical or even “philological” approaches, as well as more analytic ways of dealing with these debates.
Papers should be sent to Sabine Plaud (firstname.lastname@example.org) before May 1st 2012. Papers should not exceed 10,000 words and must include an abstract of 200-400 words and a list of works cited. Papers will be selected on the basis of a process of blind review. Acceptance of papers will be notified before July 1st, 2012.
European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy, 2011, 2, 2.
Symposia: “Pragmatism and the social sciences: a century of influences and interactions”
Editors: Roberto Frega (University of Bologna), Filipe Carreira da Silva (University of Lisbon)
The second issue of 2011 of the European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy
(EJPAP) will be devoted to the relationship between pragmatism and the social sciences. The issue
is explicitly interdisciplinary in focus and aims at assessing the relevance and fruitfulness of the
pragmatist tradition for the development of contemporary social theory, as well as the place of
pragmatist themes and concepts within the social sciences.
Since its origins, in fact, classical American pragmatism has been a philosophy resolutely open to
the social sciences. Not only pragmatists have been actively engaged in social scientific research
themselves (think of W. James, J. Dewey, G.H. Mead, C. Morris), but they have also conceived of
the birth and development of the social sciences as one of the most innovative traits of modern
society, the one truly capable of incarnating the pragmatist conception of the scope of knowledge
within human experience.
It was mostly to social sciences, in fact, that pragmatist philosophers, social scientists, and
reformers such as J. Dewey, W.E.B. Du Bois, L. Trilling, S. Hook, W. Mills turned to in order to
find the analytical categories that could make philosophical thinking more attuned to the
transformations changing contemporary societies. At the same time, the social sciences have always
looked at pragmatism as a philosophy that offers useful tools for making sense of social, cultural
and political practices and institutions.
The aim of this issue of EJPAP is to discuss the reciprocal influences between pragmatism and the
social sciences, and at exploring the current state of their interactions within contemporary
philosophy and social sciences.
Contributions from both philosophers and social scientists are thus welcome.
Possible questions for discussion include at least the following:
1. The role of pragmatist concepts for empirical social scientific research. How have concepts such
as: public, situation, self, agency been developed by social scientists in their empirical work? What ,
normative practices have been adopted because of influences stemming from pragmatism? What is
the heuristic value of pragmatist categories and theories for work in the social sciences?
2. The role of the social sciences in the development of pragmatism. Historical accounts of the close
relation (since the inception of the pragmatist movement) between pragmatist philosophy and
experimental and social science are particularly welcome; these could include, for example,
discussions of the importance of the social sciences in the development of the philosophies of
Peirce, James, Dewey or Mead. Papers discussing the epistemological dimension of this historical
relation are also welcome. Of equal interest are theoretical questions concerning the extent to which
pragmatist philosophers draw upon empirical research to illustrate their claims, or of how research
carried on within the social sciences has been and still is integrated in the reflection of pragmatist
3. Pragmatism as a philosophy of the social sciences. Is there really a pragmatist philosophy of the
social sciences? Which are its main, distinctive traits? How might traditional pragmatist sources
contribute to its development? Which are the current approaches to the philosophy of the social
sciences within the pragmatist tradition?
Abstracts of 400-500 words should be sent to Roberto Frega (email@example.com) by February
The deadline for receipt of submissions is November 15th 2011. This issue of EJPAP will appear
online in late 2011.